Monthly Archives: January 2009

Symbols matter

I’m a little worried

The following is a proof developed by a number of economists at Harvard. It is a proof of the inability of women to understand technologically complex problems, math, engineering, that sort of thing. it is claimed that it almost always works.

Now, I’m not saying that Larry Summers was party to this proof, or even in the room at the time. I’m. Not. Saying. That.
Continue reading I’m a little worried

Medical Emergency at the Inauguration: Kenndy and Byrd!

As we speak, someone is getting medical treatment at the inaugural indoors ceremony lunch thingie. Details will follow.

It is not the president or the vp or their immediate families. There are a lot of old people there, it could be almost anything.

UPDATE: It was Ted Kennedy, taken away on a stretcher. Hopefully a minor setback and nothing more.

Ambulances pulled up to the building, but have not pulled out yet. Perviously, Kennedy has been brought to the hospital a couple of times and has gotten past it pretty easily. He is fragile, clearly.

Kennedy was in a state of convulsions and was taken out in that state. Earlier, Senator Robert Byrd was having some kind of trouble eating, not too serious, was also taken away.

UPDATE: Kennedy was in a wheelchair at the time of the attack. Medical people came out and converted his (obviously very fancy) wheel chair into a stretcher (a transformer wheelchair) and, the Senator still convulsing, was pulled out of the room and brought to the building’s medical facility.

UPDATE: No, Nora of MSNBC had it wrong … Kennedy was not taken to the building’s medical facility. He was stuffed directly into the ambulance, he was conscious, and apparently in pain.

UPDATE: Obama jumped in to help, and Dodd and Kerry and others helped him out of the room to the ambulance. Dodd and Kerry can be seen in a clip that is being rolled now and then at the ambulance site.

UPDATE: There is a report that Kennedy had already started to “seem much better” as he was getting into the ambulance.

OMG They Screwed Up the Oath of Office!


I am rolling of the floor laughing (ROFL). If you didn’t see it, watch the YouTube Video.

(He totally made up for it with the speech, of course.)

You may also note two precious moments earlier in the day:

1) When George Herbert Walker Bush was coming out to the stage and walking between the marine guards, he slapped one of the guards on the ass.

2) When George Bush (our newly formered president)’s image was first shown to the crowd before he came out, the crowd started singing that song … “Hey hey hey, good bye…” (You know the song.)

Oh, and Rick Warren. Gag me.

Oh, from the speech: “We are a nation of bla bla bla and unbelievers.”


Very pro science talk.

There is some live blogging going on here .

Nice poem.

Benediction. Ick.

Two men go in, one comes out. And gets in a helicopter and flies away. Magic. Good bye, you fucking bastard.

As the bush helicopter is flying off, the crowd has broken out again in song: Hey hey hey, good bye!!!!!!

From now on I totally love that song.

Uffda. The third major religulous event is now underway at the post-inaugural lunch.

Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 07 ~ Sea Level Change

This is the seventh in a series of reposts from on global warming.

i-e1372cd57ce206dff3631a4a9438e737-epic-GlobalWarming.jpgThis installment is about sea level rise and fall, in the past. Sea level change that results from the formation and melting of glaciers not only has an enormous impact on the physical nature of the landscape, but it also would not have gone unnoticed by people living ever pretty far from the sea!

With large amounts of the world’s water trapped in glaciers (mainly continental glaciers), the sea level drops. When that ice melts, the sea level rises.

As you know, the earth is covered by two kinds of surface: Continents, which are relatively tall and buoyant and which have a tendency to move around, and sea floor, which is structurally different from the continents. But if you look at the oceans, you will see that they cover both sea floor and parts of the continents. The parts of the continents that are covered by sea floor are typically referred to as “continental shelf.” All this … this continental shelf … really is the edge of the continents themselves that happen at the moment to be covered with the sea. There are places, like the coast of California, where there is no shelf, and other places, like the coast of New England, much of the Caribbean and large parts of the Gulf of Mexico, that have extensive shelf. If you removed all the water from this shelf, you could fit a couple of more New England states between Boston (now on the coast) and the new coast line.

Continue reading Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 07 ~ Sea Level Change

Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 06 ~ A Glacial Cycle

This is the sixth in a series of reposts from on global warming.

i-e1372cd57ce206dff3631a4a9438e737-epic-GlobalWarming.jpgIn the last post in this series I talked about two aspects of large scale climate change: Milankovitch orbital geometry and the cycles of glaciation this effect causes, and the role of plate tectonics and related changes in altering sea and air currents, which in turn determine a great deal about climate change as well.

Now I want to have a quick look at a single glacial cycle (the most recent one of many), and one way in which the cycle is observed in the ancient record, identified, measured, and described.

As discussed earlier, we know that glaciations (glacial cycles, or “ice ages”) involve the formation of large continental glaciers, which are in turn made of accumulated precipitation (snow), most of which ultimately comes from the oceans via evaporation. So as water is transferred from the oceans to the land-based glaciers, the glaciers build up and sea level goes down.

Since water can be made of either lighter or heavier isotopes of oxygen, and the lighter-isotope water evaporates more easily, the glaciers are isotropically light. This means, in turn, that the oceans are isotropically heavy. This isotopic bias is preserved in the hard parts of marine organisms that use oxygen from sea water as part of their growth process.
Continue reading Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 06 ~ A Glacial Cycle